Rivers irked by Davis-Stoudemire trash talk

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Rivers irked by Davis-Stoudemire trash talk

By A. Sherrod Blakely
CSNNE.com

BOSTON Shaquille O'Neal is out. Two-thirds of the Boston Celtics team wasn't here when the season started.

Celtics coach Doc Rivers has heard all the excuses and justifications for why the C's may come out flat for tonight's game.

His response?

"We're ready. We're fine."

We'll see if Rivers' words are just talk, something at least one Celtics player probably did a bit too much of recently.

Glen Davis was asked about defending New York's Amar'e Stoudemire, one of the NBA's top scorers this past season.

"It's really not that hard," Davis said. "I give him too much credit. I have to make him react to me, not me react to him."

Davis' comments eventually made their way back to Stoudemire.

"Me and Glen Davis (are) on two different platforms," Stoudemire told reporters. "He's a solid player, does a great job for his ball club. But we are on two different platforms."

As a former player and veteran NBA head coach, Rivers has heard his share of trash talk.

"Listen, it's all talk. I don't like it; never liked it,' Rivers said. "But it's going to happen. And it's all talk at the end of the day."

Rivers said it is something that is talked about some, but added, "I'm more focused on playing basketball. At the end of the day, if you can talk and play, that's good. If you can't talk and play, than stop talking. We'll find out who does what."

Defensive numbers misleading
The Celtics defense was among the league's best a year ago. And this year, they gave up a league-low 91.1 points per game which was an improvement on last season's team which gave up 95.6 points per game.

Rivers recognizes the improvement, but he comes into tonight's game concerned about his team's play in the fourth quarter.

Boston lost 26 games this season, 10 of which came in games in which they were either ahead or tied going into the fourth.

"We've had some bad fourth quarters defensively," Rivers acknowledged. "That's something in the New Year (the playoffs), we have to be better."

Inactive list
Rivers said that along with Shaquille O'Neal (right calfAchilles tendon), Avery Bradley and Carlos Arroyo will be on the inactive roster tonight.

A. Sherrod Blakely can be reached at sblakely@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Sherrod on Twitter at http:twitter.comsherrodbcsn

Patriots-Steelers injury report: Seven Pats listed as questionable

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Patriots-Steelers injury report: Seven Pats listed as questionable

FOXBORO -- The Patriots will head into Sunday's AFC title game with seven players listed as questionable, including three receivers. 

Danny Amendola, Malcolm Mitchell and Chris Hogan have all been limited in practices this week due to their injuries. Amendola has been dealing with an ankle issue since a Week 13 win over the Rams, while Mitchell has not played since injuring his knee in Week 16 against the Jets. Hogan suffered a thigh injury against the Texans and left the game in the third quarter.

Both Hogan and Mitchell indicated this week that they were moving in the right direction in terms of their recoveries. One would think that the Patriots would need at least one, if not both, to help stress the back end of the Steelers secondary this weekend.

Hogan has been the team's most consistent down-the-field threat this season, averaging a whopping 17.9 yards per catch during the regular season. Against the Texans, before his injury, he reeled in four passes for 95 yards. 

Mitchell, meanwhile, had a very productive second half of his rookie season before he was hurt. He compiled 25 catches for 306 yards between Weeks 11 and 16, establishing himself as one of Tom Brady's go-to targets. 

The overall health of the Patriots receiving corps -- which will also include Julian Edelman and Michael Floyd -- will bear watching when the Patriots and Steelers kick off in two days.

The injury report for Sunday's Patriots-Steelers game:

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

QUESTIONABLE
WR Danny Amendola (ankle)
TE Martellus Bennett (knee)
RB Brandon Bolden (knee)
LB Dont'a Hightower (shoulder)
WR Chris Hogan (thigh)
WR Malcolm Mitchell (knee)
DL Jabaal Sheard (knee)

PITTSBURGH STEELERS

QUESTIONABLE
TE Ladarius Green (concussion/illness)
LB James Harrison (shoulder/triceps)
RB Fitzgerald Toussaint (concussion)

NOT LISTED
RB Le'Veon Bell (not injury related)
K Chris Boswell (illness)
LB Anthony Chickillo (ankle)
S Sean Davis (shoulder)
C B.J. Finney (illness)
WR Darrius Heyward-Bay (illness)
DE Ricardo Mathews (ankle)
QB Zach Mettenberger (illness)
S Michael Mitchell (not injury related)
QB Ben Roethlisberger (not injury related)
LB Vince Williams (shoulder)

Bradley still hurting, will miss Celtics game vs. Trail Blazers

Bradley still hurting, will miss Celtics game vs. Trail Blazers

WALTHAM, Mass. – The right Achilles’ strain that has kept Avery Bradley out of five of the Celtics’ past six games, will continue to keep the 6-foot-2 guard sidelined.
 
Celtics coach Brad Stevens said Bradley will not play Saturday against the Portland Trail Blazers.
 
Stevens added that no additional tests have been taken and the Achilles’ itself is structurally fine.
 
“He’s got a lot of soreness around it, and that’s one of those things you have to be ultra-careful with,” said Stevens, who later added that Bradley would not practice with the team today. “When he [Bradley] came back, he said he felt a lot better, and then he played and the next day he practiced. We didn’t do anything live but he did a lot of cutting and did not feel near as good. That’s why he didn’t play Wednesday.”
 
The absence of Bradley was clearly felt in a 117-106 loss to the New York Knicks on Wednesday, a game in which Knicks guard Derrick Rose – the man Bradley would have likely spent defending most of the game – scored 30 points.
 
This season, all-NBA first team defender is  the Celtics’ No. 2 scorer at 17 points per game along with averaging a team-best 6.9 rebounds.
 
In addition, Bradley is shooting a career-best 40.9 percent from 3-point range, as well as dishing out 2.4 assists per game, which also represents a career-high for the 26-year-old.